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Garage burglaries on the rise during summer months

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During warm weather, leaving the garage door open, let alone with the light on, is an open invitation for burglary. Thieves can often get what they want in just a few seconds.

One common form of burglary during the summer months is entering open garage doors, and just as in past summers, the Springfield Police Department has been noticing an increase in this type of criminal behavior.

“What we are seeing again is that people are forgetting to close their garage doors overnight or choosing to leave them open while being inside or in their back yard,” said Sgt. David Meyer of the SPD’s Property Crimes Unit. “Many assume that their belongings are safe since they are at home, but it only takes a few seconds to steal items from an open garage and take off.”

Just recently, Springfield police arrested a 24-year-old woman after a homeowner caught her going through her vehicle inside her garage. SPD plans to present charges against her to the prosecutor’s office. Not only is her life now on a troublesome course, there’s usually a drug-related reason for 80 percent of the property crimes committed in the Ozarks.

These actions are offering thieves easy access inside garages where valuables, home or car keys or even garage door openers may be attainable. The SPD advises people to keep their garages closed, even if they are only away for a few minutes and believe their neighborhood is safe.

More tips from the SPD for preventing garage burglaries:

  • Make sure the door leading from the garage into your home also has a locking mechanism, and use it.
  • Cover any garage windows. You are doing thieves a favor by allowing them to see when your vehicle is gone.
  • Consider purchasing a “garage door open indicator.” This will alert you when the garage door has been left open. Also, some garage door manufacturers have an automatic system that recognizes when a garage door has been left open and it will close after a specified period of time.
  • Record serial numbers and take pictures of items of value kept in your garage, so if they are stolen, they will be easier for police to identify.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, and notify neighbors if you think they have accidentally left their garage open.
  • Start a Neighborhood Watch
    in your community.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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